Meet the artist // Martyna Lebryk

Martyna Lebryk is an artist originally from Poland but have been living in Ireland for many years. Martyna who has been a resident artists at GlogauAIR from July to September 2022. This interview is the result of a conversation between Savanna Fortgang and the artist that took place during September 2022 in the residency.

Savanna: How did your artist journey begin?

Martyna: I never considered myself an artist until more recently. I studied architecture in the beginning of university. I remember in secondary school I wanted to be an artist, but ended up studying architecture because it felt more tangible. But, in my head I always wanted to be a painter. Unfortunately, I always thought it was unattainable for me. I would go into gallery spaces and feel doubt in my own ability to show my art work in these spaces. When I was in university, an acquaintance of mine told me to join an art class. The class met in the evenings once a week. A bunch of people would meet up and draw for three hours. At the end of the course, the teacher came to me and told me they thought I should apply for an MFA for painting. I ended up applying and I got in! I was so happy. This was something I wanted to do for so long and it was finally happening. 

S: How was studying your MFA? Was it challenging considering your lack of art class experience?

M: When I started my MFA in painting, I didn’t even really know how to paint. Fake it until you make it. They don’t really teach you in the MFA, they kind of already expect you to know. Eventually the teacher would ask me ‘why are you doing it this way?’ I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was doing it. They would show me. I think it is good to be in that space to learn the rules of painting and composition, of light and depth. 

S: What do you do as an artist? 

M: I am a painter but recently I have been drawn to sculpture. I am really interested in the visitor- the person that enters an exhibition space. Them becoming a part of the work. How does the work make them feel? How do they interact with the art? A sculpture takes up space and makes people feel things. It makes the visitor confront it as well as respond in an emotional way, whether that be joy or frustration, questioning ‘why is this here?’ .

S: What is your process? Why do you create the art that you do – what are overarching themes in your artwork?

M: I am a very impatient person. I go for things. I have two different speeds to my process. With my bigger paintings, I’ve had to stop myself and go against my nature. The big canvases I slow down and plan the composition out more. With my smaller drawings, I move very quickly. It’s almost like a drug. I like drawing very fast and without worry. I have no fears about destroying the drawing. I don’t judge if the drawing will be good or bad. I feel free. Art is therapy.